DRUG WEBSITE SHUTDOWN
Attorney denies California man ran drug website
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — An attorney for a San Francisco man has denied charges that his client operated an encrypted website where users could anonymously shop for drugs such as heroin and LSD.
Public defender Brandon LeBlanc said in brief remarks after a hearing on Friday that defendant Ross Ulbricht denies all the allegations. He declined further comment.
Ulbricht is charged with narcotics trafficking, computer hacking and money laundering.
Ulbricht appeared in court in shackles and red prison clothes for a bail hearing. LeBlanc asked U.S. Magistrate Judge Joseph Spero to postpone the hearing, saying the case was complex.
Spero granted the request and rescheduled the hearing for Oct. 9.
The 29-year-old Ulbricht is also charged in Maryland with arranging to pay someone to kill a witness.
Stockton bankruptcy exit plan clears city council
(Information in the following story is from: The Record, http://www.recordnet.com/)
STOCKTON, Calif. (AP) — The city of Stockton's plan to emerge from bankruptcy has cleared the city council.
The Record of Stockton reports that the council voted 6-0 on Thursday to give City Manager Bob Deis authority to file the plan with U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Christopher Klein. The plan could still face opposition from the city's creditors.
City officials have said the plan's success depends on voters approving a three-quarter-cent sales tax hike in November. The tax revenue would help close an $11 million deficit and allow for the hiring of 120 police officers.
Deis said that over the plan's life it would cut $2 billion in labor and other costs from the city's budget.
The city filed bankruptcy in June 2012 after three years of multimillion-dollar deficits. It has been working since then to restructure its debts.
Groups appeal dismissal of UC anti-Semitism claims
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Attorneys are appealing a federal decision to dismiss claims that alleged three University of California campuses failed to respond effectively to anti-Semitism displays during events at the schools.
The appeal filed Friday with the U.S. Department of Education's Office for Civil Rights concerns events at three campuses — UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz and UC Irvine — spanning more than a decade.
The complaints alleged anti-Jewish comments were made at meetings in Berkeley to discuss a student senate bill calling on the university to divest from companies that support Israel's military in Palestinian territories.
In Santa Cruz, the complaints alleged the school didn't respond quickly enough to swastika graffiti on campus.
After an investigation, the government ruled the incidents that spurred the claims didn't constitute harassment of Jewish students.
Brown OKs bill allowing more than 2 legal parents
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Gov. Jerry Brown has signed legislation making California the fifth state to allow judges to declare a child has more than two legal parents.
Current law allows courts to acknowledge only two people as parents, which advocates say does not give judges any leeway to exercise judgment.
The bill by Democratic Sen. Mark Leno of San Francisco allows a judge to legally recognize additional parents if failing to do so would be detrimental to a child.
Leno's bill was prompted by a 2011 court case involving a California girl whose legal parent could not care for her and whose biological father was deemed not a parent. She ended up in state custody when her birth mother was incarcerated and her other legal parent was hospitalized.
Brown vetoed similar legislation last year.
PENSION REFORM-TRANSIT MONEY
California sues to restore federal transit funds
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California officials are suing the U.S. Department of Labor for denying billions of dollars in mass transit money to the state after lawmakers approved pension reforms.
Gov. Jerry Brown's office announced the lawsuit Friday, saying he wants to defend last year's law requiring state employees to contribute more to their pensions to ensure the retirement system remains viable.
Federal labor officials determined the changes violate collective bargaining rights by forcing union members to pay more. The agency blocked at least $1.6 billion in U.S. Department of Transportation grants to California.
The state's lawsuit calls the decision "arbitrary, capricious and unconstitutional."
Brown also announced signing legislation to keep the money flowing while the state challenges the federal ruling. The bill temporarily exempts local transit agency workers from the pension changes.
JERRY BROWN-RECORD TENURE
Jerry Brown set to become longest serving governor
SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — California's colorful and unpredictable governor, Jerry Brown, is preparing to pass another milestone: the state's longest serving governor.
The Democratic son of former two-term governor Edmund G. Brown will surpass Earl Warren's 10-year tenure in the office on Monday. Warren served as governor from January 1943 to October 1953 and then joined the U.S. Supreme Court.
Brown was the second-youngest governor when he first took office at age 36 in 1975.
He served two four-year terms before returning to the office at the age of 72 in 2011.
He was able to return because his first terms as governor came before the state adopted term limits.
Brown said Friday that he has no reflections yet on his latest milestone.
Monday is also the 10th anniversary of the recall of then-Gov. Gray Davis.
PEDESTRIAN ON FREEWAY
Teen struck on SF Bay Area freeway
OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — A teenager is in critical condition after he was struck by at least one car while running in pajama bottoms and a white shirt on a San Francisco Bay Area freeway.
The California Highway Patrol says the roughly 16 or 17-year-old boy was spotted on Interstate 580 in Oakland around 6:30 a.m. Friday. He was walking into lanes of traffic when he was struck.
The collision caused several other cars to crash and the freeway's eastbound lanes to close for about an hour.
Three people suffered minor injuries.
It's not clear why the teenager was on the freeway. Authorities say he did not have identification on him.
Tesla CEO says fire caused by impaled battery
SEATTLE (AP) — The CEO of electric car company Tesla says a battery that caught fire in a Tesla vehicle was apparently impaled by a metal object.
Elon Musk wrote in a blog post Friday that fires are more common in conventional gas-powered vehicles. It's safer to power a car with a battery, Musk wrote.
Musk says a curved metal component was apparently the culprit in causing a Tesla to catch on fire Tuesday. He says the object's shape led to a powerful hit on the underside of the vehicle, punching a 3-inch hole through an armor plate that protects the car's bottom.
Tesla says the car properly contained the blaze. The driver was able to exit the highway in the Seattle suburb of Kent before flames engulfed the front of the vehicle.
ELECTRONIC BOOKS-ANTITRUST LAWSUIT
Apple files promised appeal in book-collusion case
NEW YORK (AP) — Apple is fighting a legal order requiring the company to modify its digital book contracts and submit to oversight by a court-appointed antitrust monitor.
The Cupertino, Calif., company filed its notice of appeal Thursday in New York, following through on a pledge to fight the verdict. A federal court had concluded that Apple Inc. had illegally colluded with five major publishers to fix the prices of electronic books at the expense of consumers. The challenge comes a month after U.S. District Judge Denise Cote finalized her order based on a verdict that she reached in July.
Simon & Schuster Inc., one of the five book publishers affected by the ruling, filed an appeal Friday.
Apple contends that its arrangements with publishers increased competition in a market dominated by Amazon.com Inc.
You say Twitter, I say Tweeter: Investor mix-up?
NEW YORK (AP) — A bankrupt electronics retailer appears to have gotten caught up in the investor fervor for Twitter.
Shares of Tweeter Home Entertainment Group Inc. rose as high as 15 cents Friday. That's up 1,400 percent from Thursday's closing price of 1 cent.
The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, Wall Street's industry regulator, says the shares were halted Friday afternoon because of a misunderstanding related to the "possible initial public offering of an unrelated security."
What could have gotten investors so confused?
Tweeter trades over the counter, under the "TWTRQ" symbol.
Twitter on Thursday offered investors details about its highly anticipated IPO and proposed the stock symbol "TWTR."
But Twitter's stock won't be available for trading until the company actually goes public. That could be before Thanksgiving.
OLDEST NATIONAL PARK RANGER-FURLOUGHED
Nation's oldest full-time park ranger furloughed
RICHMOND, Calif. (AP) — A 92-year-old Northern California woman who is the nation's oldest full-time national park ranger has joined the ranks of those currently out of work due to the ongoing government shutdown.
Betty Reid Soskin, who works at the Rosie the Riveter World War II Home Front National Historical Park in Richmond, CA, says she is devastated after being furloughed earlier this week.
Soskin on Friday says her job at the park and museum that honors the women who worked in factories during wartime is what keeps her going.
After a life in public service, Soskin became a park ranger seven years ago leading tours at the historical park.
She hopes the furlough will end before Oct. 12th. That's when the park is set to host its annual Home Front Festival which she has been working on for months.